Tennessee Lottery Releases New Sports Betting Rules

Published: 24th November 2019
Author: Joe Kizlauskas
Last Updated: 21st April 2022

On Friday, the Tennessee Lottery released its new sports betting rules, the latest step towards becoming the country’s first state to legalise electronic wagering without needing sportsbook retailers.

Lottery administrators must consider input from the public over the next 30 days before determining whether to make changes or enact the rules as they have been.

One day after the first Sports Wagering Advisory Council of the Lottery took place in Nashville, the document was published. The board is scheduled to meet on January 14 next. It also comes after the news that Jennifer Roberts, a gaming lawyer based in Nevada, has been appointed to oversee the lottery sports betting.

Roberts, who operates her own gaming law firm in Las Vegas, was also the associate director for the UNLV International Gaming Center Regulation.

The state will not start accepting applications for licences until after approval of the regulations. The congressman who led the charge to legalise sports betting in Tennessee, has said that he plans to accept the first applications in the spring.

State Rep. Rick Staples (D-Knoxville) said he had initially hoped that mobile apps would be available from February onwards. Nonetheless, some of the steps will take time to vet applicants, he said.

For Staples, it’s better to get it right the first time as Tennessee moves into uncharted ground as a nongaming state branching into online-only betting.

“We want to make sure that it’s about the quality of the product and not rushing for any particular reason,” he said. “So if we are going to be ahead of the game, if we’re going to show other states how to do it, we want to at least be able to do it right.”

The law of Tennessee does not cap the number of sports betting applications that can be approved by the lottery, and each successful applicant must pay a $750,000 annual licencing fee to operate in the state. For each app, the state will also levy tax on 20% of gross gaming revenue.

The education fund of the lottery will collect 80% of the revenues, 15% will go to the general fund of the government, and the remaining 5% will fund gaming services for problem players.

The law of Tennessee requires that all sportsbooks use official league data to score their live bets. That means licensees will have to either become official league partners or buy data rights from an official league partner like Sportradar. However, the proposed regulations call for an exception if the books can provide evidence that the leagues are unable to provide the information on “commercially reasonable terms.” The legislation also bans in-game wagering on any college case.

The draught regulations released on Friday also show some unique parlay bets rules. Tennessee’s draught sports betting regulations would not allow bettors to include prop bets or futures wagers, such as a Nashville Predators in-season bet to win the Stanley Cup, in a parlay.

Another draught regulation that could dissuade some bettors, if enacted, is that any single event would be scored as a loss in a parlay that ends in a push. Sportsbooks typically remove parlay pushes and recalculate the payout from the remaining games.

Comments will be approved and can be submitted online. by Dec. 23. The lottery will also make the comments available for analysis to the public.

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About Joe Kizlauskas

Joe is a seasoned iGaming copywriter and speaker who has been in the business since 2015. He's written more words on all elements of iGaming than he likes to remember, and he's contributed material to a number of well-known brands. Joe may be seen playing 5 a side, at the gym or playing games on his Playstation when he is not writing.